As a relatively successful private sector affordable housing developer for almost 25 years in the Twin Cities, I went on to graduate school in the early 2000’s to develop the skills necessary to bring private sector business practices and approaches to the public sector. It was my belief that these approaches would assist government agencies in becoming more cost effective, and consequently, less tax dependent.
Another thing that I have learned the hard way since moving north is in my attempting to consult with many of the small communities on the range. In small communities there are small governmental agencies like the communities Housing Authority or Redevelopment Agency or economic development authority. They may be small in actual size but have significantly more economic powers than is really understood by most community leaders.
What I have noticed in this region of the state is that when these leadership positions come open for a new executive director or manager they do not search for the best and brightest on a large scale, they save money, and usually hire someone relatively locally. Seeking talent for the leadership of these tremendously functional agencies doesn’t seem to even be considered. With the brightest and best in these fields these agencies could be tremendous economic engines for their community. But if the search pool they are searching is relatively local and a has a limited budget they just end up with someone local with the same perspective that was already in the community.
A program created to assist small communities in seeking out the best and brightest from a distance greater than 150 miles away, we might see new life in many of these old struggling towns in filling key positions.
The Peter Principle is alive and well in Northern Minnesota Government. The state could help change much of that.
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